Walsden sink champs in fine style to taste trophy success for first time

Nathan Rooks had chances for Walsden
Nathan Rooks had chances for Walsden

Walsden C & FC emphatically won the battle of the Rochdale Online Alliance’s top two sides with a 3-0 success over Fothergill & Whittles in the Chairman’s Cup final.

An impressive all round team performance at Mayfield Sports Centre last Friday gave them a first piece of silverware in only their second season.

On a hard, dry pitch, Fothergills carried the early threat and Sam Holt forced Jamie Shackleton into action with a long range effort.

The newly crowned league champions continued to push forward but were caught on the break on six minutes. Joe Gale picked up a loose ball deep inside his own half and when Danny Brown pulled away to the left, Gale cut inside, shot from 20 yards and a wicked bounce took the ball over ‘keeper Nick Grindrod.

Fothergills had a territorial advantage but Walsden were creating the clearer cut chances with Nathan Rooks and Brown each having a couple of opportunities.

As the half hour mark approached Walsden’s Brown, Marrow and Joe Gale were starting to cause problems.

Grindrod blocked from Brown, Rooks firing the loose ball over, and only a superb last ditch interception from Harrison prevented Joe Gale from doubling the lead.

Fothergills had a couple of moments of their own but Walsden made a flying start to the second period.

Joe Gale, Brown and Danny Welsh had opportunities and referee Andrew Perrin waved away loud appeals for a penalty as Brown went down under the challenge of Jake Dixon.

Walsden were sensing the kill and Brown and Marrow might have done better but Fothergills rallied, with Tyler Greenwood heading over and Nathan Shepherd almost wrong-footing Shackleton.

Walsden doubled their lead on 72 minutes. Brown pinched the ball and played Marrow through down the inside right channel, James Peavoy knocking Marrow’s square ball beyond Grindrod.

Marrow’s replacement Jonathan Sutcliffe then raced onto a long ball and was brought down by Grindrod, to earn the ‘keeper the only yellow card of the night.

The 76th minute penalty was confidently converted by leading scorer Brown.

With Sutcliffe’s pace a constant outlet for Walsden’s confident and controlled approach play the game was over as a contest and Walsden’s back line maintained their dominance over the remaining quarter of an hour.

League official John Culshaw presented the trophy and centre back Cameron Hanson was man of the match.